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The amount of trash left after Annie’s second birthday party was insane. There were mounds of wrapping paper, piles of Yo Gabba Gabba themed paper plates, dozens of empty juice boxes… the list goes on and on. We had so much waste, in fact, that we couldn’t fit it all in our trash can and Heather’s parents had to take a couple bags home with them. (How’s that for a party favor?) So when I was challenged to make our next party a green one I was both excited and nervous: excited because I wanted to see if I could reduce waste and be a more responsible party host; nervous because the next event was an important one – a Mother’s Day brunch that Annie and I are throwing at our home.

Heather is a great mother to Annie, and Heather’s Mom, Linda, is a great mother/grandmother to all of us, so it is important that the brunch goes well. Unfortunately, as cute as Annie is, she is absolute crap when it comes to party planning. Check out this excerpt from our first planning session:

MIKE: “So I thought we could have mimosas? Maybe special ones with fruit in them?”

ANNIE: “Watch Elmo?”

MIKE: “Not now, Annie. Now about the mimosas. Do you think –”

ANNIE: “Watch Elmo now?”

MIKE: “Come on, Annie! You need to focus here!”

ANNIE: “Bye Dada! Annie go play!”

Annie humoring me: “Yeah, great idea, Dada. Really.”

Despite Annie’s limited input I am glad to say I was able to quickly lock down a scrumptious menu (that’s right… I said scrumptious). The green element of the party, however, was a bit more challenging.  Again, Annie was little help:

MIKE: “So, Annie, do you have any ideas on how we can make this party green?”


MIKE: “Yes, that is true. But it hardly helps us in trying to –”

ANNIE: “Watch Muppets movie, Dada?”

MIKE: “For crying out loud, Annie! Can you focus for once in your life?”

“What are you looking at, Annie! Pay attention! Concentrate!”

Luckily, after putting on “The Muppets” and listening to Annie belt out “AM I A MAN? OR AM I A MUPPET?” I was able to find a ton of great suggestions for green parties thanks to Glad’s One Bag program toolkit which encourages people to throw “one bag” events – events where you’re left with only one bag of trash at the end! The toolkit has a ton of great tips, but here are a few that Annie and I are going to use:

No Wrapping Paper

Instead of bundling up our Mother’s Day presents in wrapping paper, Annie and I will wrap them in things we already have around the house like reusable gift bags, linens, or towels.

No Plastic/Styrofoam/Paper Plates

It is so easy to use paper plates and napkins, plastic utensils, and Styrofoam cups when throwing a party, and since we will be eating outside I likely would have used some of these for our brunch. Not now. To stay green I will exclusively use real dishes, napkins, and utensils!

Set-up Easy, Labeled Sorting System

A great idea is to set up separate containers clearly labeled for glass, plastic, aluminum, compost and trash. This makes it easy for guests to be as responsible as possible!

No Single Servings

Instead of having a bunch of sugar packets on the table, I will have a sugar bowl. Similarly, instead of juice boxes for the little ones, there will be a punch bowl full of juice. Individual packets may be small, but they add up!

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty sure I’ve planned a rockin’ Mother’s Day brunch that Heather, Linda, and Mother Earth can feel good about. And I did it all without any meaningful input from Annie! (Note to Annie: you get a pass this year because you are two, so enjoy it while it lasts!)

What do you all think? Does throwing a green party this summer sound like something you would be interested in doing?